FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Council approved a partnership agreement with the North Peace Community Foundation on Monday afternoon.

Mayor Lori Ackerman was “elated” that the community foundation is about to cross the finish line. “This is something we’ve been working on for a long time,” she said.

This agreement supports the transition of grant-in-aid funding to the NPCF, the plan for which started moving forward in November 2020. It spells out how the city will continue to support the NPCF as its endowment grows and how the foundation will administer the application process and eligibility on behalf of the City of Fort St. John.

Ackerman described it as taking money out of the hands of politicians and putting it into the hands of the community.

Before the agreement was signed, Susan Adams presented to the council and thanked councillors for their support of the long-standing project.

“The vision was that the community foundation would be a vehicle for the community that they could maintain,” she said.

“Decisions were made by the city to not only build the engine but a strong commitment was made to making sure that engine was put into a vehicle.” 

The last several months have been committed to setting up the framework required for the foundation, a plan long in the works, to run—or, as Adams put it, to ensure that the vehicle has wheels on and is registered.

“Thanks to the generousness and the thoughtfulness of the City of Fort St. John, there is gas in the tank, and it’s time to turn the key,” she continued.

The city, which until this point has been solely responsible for funding grants-in-aid with revenue from property taxes, will continue to fund the program through the NPCF. The amount that the city contributes will decrease annually by five per cent for five years.

The amount provided by the city will eventually stabilize at 75 per cent of its previous contribution towards the programs, resulting in savings of $1.5 million for the city.

Ideally, the foundation’s endowment will generate its own revenue and be able to increase the amount of funding available for local charities and non-profits. 

The distribution of funds was the final milestone of the foundation’s seven-step plan to start operations. The partnership agreement will facilitate that distribution, beginning this fall.

The foundation has three pillars it asks applicants to address: truth and reconciliation; environmental, social, and governance; and the United Nation’s sustainable development goals. The way applicants interact with these goals does not impact the competitiveness of their applications but rather serves as a measure of where non-profits and charities in the community are operating.

Council also approved Mayor Lori Ackermans’s request that the mayor works with other jurisdictions in the North Peace region to let them know about opportunities to partner with the community foundation.

The transition is set for 2023, at which point charities and non-profits in the region will be directed to the NPCF to apply for funding. 

The grant program will be operated for three years and can be renewed after that term.

Annual reviews will be conducted by June 30th every year.

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Grace Giesbrecht

Grace Giesbrecht is a news reporter for EnergeticCity.ca who recently graduated from Trinity Western University with a bachelor of arts in Media + Communications. She was born and raised just outside of Fort St. John. She began reporting for her university’s student newspaper and interned with Ottawa Life Magazine where she developed a passion for asking questions, telling stories, and the written word. In her free time, you can find her drinking coffee, snowboarding, or reading novels.